Dec 17, 2015 0 Comments in Legacy of war, Neurotoxicity, Solvents, Worker safety by

In legislation passed by the United States legislature – The Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012 – veterans are eligible for VA health benefits if they served on active duty or resided (including family members) at Camp Lejeune for 30 days or more between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987. Qualifying health conditions include neurobehavioral effects. Neurobehavioral effects refer to a broad range of mental and neurological illnesses. As I have published in the past, the NeurotoxicitySyndrome can result in practically any neurological and psychiatric disease, so this designation is consistent with advances in neurotoxicological science.

Parkinson Disease

VA Secretary Robert McDonald proposes to expand the diseases recognized as presumably caused by the toxic water to include Parkinson’s disease, after talks with environmental health experts at the Veterans Health Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

Parkinson’s disease is proposed to be added as a “presumption of service connection”. This is an important recognition that neurotoxicity can cause motor disorders ultimately diagnosed as Parkinson’s disease.

“The water at Camp Lejeune was a hidden hazard, and it is only years later that we know how dangerous it was,” McDonald said in the statement. “We thank ATSDR for the thorough review that provided much of the evidence we needed to fully compensate Veterans who develop one of the conditions known to be related to exposure to the compounds in the drinking water.”

Based on my research in neurotoxicity, motor disorders such as Parkinson’s disease can result from a number of neurotoxic substances. I urge doctors to consider this possibility when evaluating patients for motor disorders, as this recognition will result in earlier and more accurate diagnosis, and better treatment, including reduction of exposure to neurotoxicants.

Doctors also should consider neurotoxicity when evaluating patients for possible multiple sclerosis. I have evaluated patients who developed “multiple-sclerosis-like” conditions after exposure to solvents in household water, such as found at Camp Lejeune.


Committee on the Review of Clinical Guidance for the Care of Health Conditions Identified by the Camp Lejeune Legislation; Board on the Health of Select Populations; Institute of Medicine. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2015 Mar 26.

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